Real Madrid welcome Valencia to the Santiago Bernabeu tomorrow evening in another important La Liga fixture. Los Blancos are currently five points clear of Sevilla, but the Andalusian side have a game in hand and face Getafe at the Sanchez-Pizjuan on Sunday afternoon. Should Madrid lose to Valencia and Sevilla win, the gap will be cut to two points.
But that isn’t the most probable of outcomes. Madrid are in fine form this season, and are deservedly top of La Liga. It’s true that their recent form hasn’t been particularly, stellar, however. They edged past Athletic Club shortly before Christmas before drawing with Cadiz and then losing to Getafe. They beat Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey during the week, but only after going a goal down.
That game was also notable for a tantrum thrown by Dani Ceballos toward the end of the fixture. The Andalusian, just back from injury, was frustrated by Carlo Ancelotti’s reluctance to bring him on and made his feelings known in a show of disrespect. Not that the Italian was insulted by his player’s reaction, however.
“That’s what happens to a player who wants to play after just coming back,” he said in comments carried by Diario AS. “I wanted to give him minutes, but as I explained it wasn’t the most suitable match for him after an injury. It was a match where he could have physical problems. But he still wanted to come on and I waited until there were five minutes to go and he got angry. In his head, I waited too long and he got a little angry. But everything is fine. He knows I have a lot of confidence in him.”
Ancelotti was then asked whether he feels that players have less respect for their coaches these days. “It’s not a sporting issue, it’s a social issue,” he replied. “The relationships between generations have changed. The respect I held for my father isn’t the same as the one that my son holds for me, nor is the relationship I had with my coaches the same as the one today’s players have with me. The world has changed. It’s not more complicated, it’s just different. It’s a generation with less respect for authority.”